Postgraduate Study

A Guide to Post-grad qualifications

Post-grad study can do wonders for your career prospects, but choosing the right course can be tricky. Here, we take a look at the options.

If you’re considering post-grad study, it’s wise to familiarise yourself with the courses that are available, how they work, and what they mean for your future career prospects.

After all, before you invest all that time and money, you need to know what you’re letting yourself in for!

To help you make the decision around what could be the best route for you, we’ve put together everything you need to know about the various options.

We’ve covered everything from masters to PHDs (doctorates) and how long they take, what they generally involve, and what they could possibly lead to in the future.

Taught courses

Taught courses are exactly what they sound like – they involve following a programme of taught sessions, including lectures and seminars, and you’re assessed with exams, assignments, and sometimes a dissertation.

Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MSc)

  • university classTake one to two years if you choose to study full time
  • If you study part time, you can expect it to take two to three years
  • Can be started straight after a degree
  • Include lectures, seminars, project work, and usually one module of dissertation research
  • You’ll sometimes have the option to miss out the dissertation module and graduate with a post-graduate diploma, which can be sufficient if you’ve got a certain career path in mind

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

  • Takes one to two years of full time study
  • Can be completed in two to five years if part time
  • Usually taken by business professionals with a few years work experience
  • Involves a mixture of compulsory modules and electives
  • Sometimes requires taking part in an internship or studying abroad
  • Can lead to senior business roles in large international corporations, or give students entrepreneurial skills

Research courses

Again, research courses are self explanatory. They tend to require you to be independent and will generally involve carrying out your own research project under the guidance of a tutor who specialises in your field.

Master programmes by research (MA, MSc, MPhil, MRes)

  • The most commong post-graduate route for undergraduatesresearch
  • Take one to two years of full time study
  • Can be completed part time in two to three years
  • Can be started straight after a degree
  • Will usually involve the completion of a dissertation and an oral presentation
  • Can lead to further research in your chosen field, or specific careers depending on the area

Doctorates (PhDs)

  • Take three to four years full time
  • Part time study will take five to six years
  • Can be started straight after an undergraduate or Masters degree
  • Usually involve completing a written thesis of 100,000 words, as well an as oral presentation
  • Considered to be an intense academic challenge
  • Can lead to very specific careers. PhD graduates often go on to be university lecturers

Before committing to a course, make sure that you carefully research all the options that are available. Depending on the career path that you wish to take, some courses will be much more useful than others.


Are you thinking about post-grad study? Which option is looking most appealing?

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